IFRS Reporter
Mark-to-market fight in a nutshell (one side, anyway, from Reuters) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Anna Millman   
Saturday, 25 September 2010 12:41

Reuters gives one side of FASB's mark-to-market fight.  Reuters reporter Dena Aubin could have been taking dictation from fair value opponents. Out of 23 paragraphs 18 present the case against mark-to-market in great detail. With that caveat in mind she does provide useful current perspective. In case you did not know:

A deciding factor when FASB approved a fair value draft in a 3-2 vote, Herz is being temporarily replaced by board member Leslie Seidman, who voted against the draft; a permanent chair has not yet been found. FASB staffer Russell Golden has been named to fill the fifth board seat when Herz leaves, and his views on the topic are unknown.

IFRS reporter has discussed the mark-to-market struggle before here and here.

Disclosure of bank holdings of financial instruments is inadequate. The financial crisis occurred because no-one could know how weak bank balance sheets were. They could not know because banks were reporting fantasies, not facts. Blaming the financial crisis on mark-to-market is like blaming cancer on the test that reveals its presence.

 
FASB appoints Russel G. Gordon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 07:33

Russell G. Gordon, erstwhile technical director for the FASB, will take the seat of departing Robert H. Hertz, but won't take the chair -- says John J. Brennan, Chairman of the Financial Accounting Foundation: "We are looking at this as two separate and distinct searches." 

FASB will need an astute politician to manage the forces fighting to determine the direction of change, especially with respect to mark-to-market. There's no denying Golden's knowledge of the details.  But does he have the street cred to chair the FASB in these contentious times?

From the FASB's release on Golden's appointment

As technical director of the FASB, Mr. Golden held primary responsibility for overseeing FASB staff work on all standards-setting projects, including major global and domestic projects and technical application and implementation of financial accounting and reporting standards. He also served as chair of the FASB’s Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF).
 

 
Last Month in IFRS: June 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 10 July 2010 11:09

Accounting Rulemakers Delay Convergence Deadline

PWC Fair Value Survey: Investors and Analysts Nix FASB Approach, Want Common Sense

"They also stress the importance of keeping net income free from fair value movements in instruments that are held for long-term cash flow rather than for short-term trading gains."

Insurance Networking News on the PWC Survey

Heather Landy's report offers excellent comments and context from financial statement users

Summary of Board Decisions - FASB/IASB Joint Board Meeting June 16-17

IASC Foundation Picks New Chairman

Forget the Cavalry, Call in the Accountants  says ACCA UK head Andrew Leck

Understanding Vietnamese accounting standards KPMG on Vietnam's IFRS Convergence

IFRS and India GAAP: Key Financial Instrument Disclosure Differences by E&Y

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 July 2010 08:22
 
Banks Extend and Pretend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 08 July 2010 07:42

The Wall Street Journal reports on how banks holding bum commercial real estate loans are hiding the truth:  

Banks call it a wise strategy. Skeptics call it "extend and pretend." ... the practice is creating uncertainties about the health of both the commercial-property market and some banks. The concern is that rampant modification of souring loans masks the true scope of the commercial property market weakness, as well as the damage ultimately in store for bank balance sheets.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 July 2010 09:47
 
Forbes Wants Banks to Hide Facts Under the Rug PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 08 July 2010 07:16

Steve Forbes offers an impassioned call for banks to hide the truth about the values of securities they hold: 

An economic version of the bubonic plague is ready to reemerge: mark-to-market accounting. This rule was the principal reason that the financial disaster of 2007--09 threatened to destroy our financial system. 

Steve would like you to write your Congressman to make sure regulators don't force banks to come clean about what their investments are worth. Heads up, Steve -- transparency is good for markets, not bad for them.  We have a financial crisis precisely because banks were using misleading accounting both internally and externally to value their investments in a raft of mortgage-backed securities.  If they'd been telling the truth from the get-go, there would have been no shock when they finally got outed.  Remember that regulators mandated opaque bank accounting in Japan early in the 1990s, for the same reason that Forbes would like to see it in the U.S.  Didn't work out too well there, and won't work any better here.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 July 2010 07:42
 
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The Editor of IFRS Reporter

Greg Millman

Gregory J. Millman is a contributing editor to Financial Executive Magazine. He has also written for Forbes, Barrons, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and numerous other periodicals He is the author of books of financial journalism including The Floating Battlefield: Corporate Strategies in the Currency Wars; The Vandals’ Crown: How Rebel Currency Traders Overthrew the World’s Central Banks, and The Day Traders: the Untold Story of the Extreme Investors and How They Changed Wall Street Forever. His most recent book is Homeschooling: A Family’s Journey. Prior to making a career shift to journalism, he worked in banking, consulting, and project finance in China.

Webmaster, Associate Editor

Anna Millman is currently a senior in economics at Brown University.